It sounds kind of natural for an electritian to own an electric van, right? Yet, it's still a rare, but existing combination, that works nice and smooth. Here a story about one...
Reiner Ullman is an electrical services company owner from Freiburg, Germany. He is among the few who already own an electric minivan – a Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL. It's not your typical mass EV yet, but Reiner has not just one, but two of these. Both showing 2,500 km on the odometer since they went into service back in august 2013...
One for Reiner, one for a chosen member of his team. They cover 25-50 km daily, servicing three to four construction sites. Back in the load compartment electric Vitos are much like the diesels ones – there is a shelf unit for tools and materials. The only difference is that in the E-CELL it's "all electric" :).
Depending on the daily schedule, vans are charged either overnight or between the daily routes. As the image above shows, charging outside the office is just fine. The only thing Reiner needs now is "green" electricity, and it's just a matter of time and service contract for the local utility to deliver it.
why electric vito?
The idea poped up in a routine conversation between Reiner and one of his electricians. It only took two days for a local Mercedes dealership to deliver and electric Vito. That Reiner has two now tells us he must have liked the idea a lot.
"It's a great feeling behind the wheel. Everyone who has driven an electric vehicle talks about it in positive terms."
We wondered why Freiburg, and the answer is that it is a self-declared "green city" which municipal authorities recently introduced a Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL into their fleet. Nice example, we wish more municipalities follow suit.
What is Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL capable of
Power is good enogh for some dynamic driving with a 60kW (289 NM) electric motor. Sometimes Reiner likes to pull at the traffic lights, but admits he now pays more attention to how he drives. Vito E-CELL top speed is limited to 89 km/h to extend the range.
Li-ion battery has 36 kWh of rated capacity, and is mounted safely under the floor. That leaves cargo space intact and it's the same as in the ICE versions. Those 36 kWh are good for 130 km of NEDC range, but we'd love to contact Reiner to ask about his own range as NEDC figures are a bit too optimistic.
as in brothers grimm fairy tale
All this sounds to us like a Brother Grimm fairy tale. "Green" city, EV-friendly Mercedes dealership nearby, service EVs... Well, it just looks like they quietly work on e-mobility in Germany, despite there's almost no news about Mercedes EVs. But, as Elvis used to sing – "A little less conversation, a little more action, please!"
Well done Reiner, it's all electric now for you buddy!